“I’m not just a whimsical figure who wears a charming suit and affects a jolly demeanor. You know, I I I’m a symbol. I’m a symbol of the human ability to be able to suppress the selfish and hateful tendencies that rule the major part of our lives. If you can’t believe, if you can’t accept anything on faith, then you’re doomed for a life dominated by doubt.” -Santa (Miracle on 34th Street)
When I was a child I would often think about what Santa looked like. I know that the books told me that he was this red cheek, pale skin, jolly figure. But for me, I like to think of him as someone that looks like men in my family. What comes to mind is watching my mother paint a brown face on the white life size Light up Santa that she purchased from the store just to make sure that people in our community and her children got to see a brown man’s face doing good in their imaginations. So this piece is dedicated to all the young kids who often are searching for these faces to come alive. Santa is a symbol for good and I want to expand what good looks like in our minds and lives. I hope it brings you joy this season.
St. Louis native and Ohio-based Artist David Michael S. Butler has situated himself within the narrative painting tradition. He attained his BFA at the Columbus College of Art and Design, and his MFA at The University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA. Butler’s work engages the visual essence of Blackness in culture, placing black figures in environments and narratives to provoke dialogue on identity. He has a reputation of enhancing creative experiences. His paintings often refer to social issues, pop and mass culture. He uses art as a form of activism, exploring how social justice, identity, capitalism, power and violence affect people of color.